Many investors never look beyond the blue chip companies that make up the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) . With a reputation for relative safety and security, Dow stocks typically get rewarded on good market days like today, when the Dow has been up most of the day. The index rose as much as 100 points earlier this afternoon.
But to get the complete picture of what the financial markets are doing, you simply have to look beyond the Dow. Let's get a quick fix on how other key markets have performed today, including many that are actually beating the Dow:
- European stocks closed with gains that were far greater on a percentage basis than the Dow's advance, with London's FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE ) up 1.4%, the German DAX (INDEX: ^GDAXI ) rising 1.5%, and the French CAC 40 jumping 1.6%. Even as most investors on the Continent have minimal expectations of any great progress for this week's summit of European Union leaders, markets were overdue for at least a modest bounce after a streak of declines that pulled European stocks down hard over the past week.
- Overnight, Asian stocks also managed modest gains that topped the Dow's advance. With its still-important export businesses, Asia remains dependent on health in the European economy, so it's also looking at how eurozone nations address their ongoing crisis. At the same time, the secondary effects of a European slowdown also compete with the primary impact of slowing growth in China.
- Oil finally put in a strong performance, rising more than $1 per barrel to jump over the $80 mark. That helped push ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM ) and Chevron (NYSE: CVX ) up by 1% or more, but it also signals broader optimism about the resiliency of the world economy. Moreover, falling energy costs could have a large positive impact -- not just on cash-strapped consumers, but also on heavy industrial users of fuel, such as airlines.
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